I stayed two nights at Hostal Cloud Forest in Chugchilán. For a room with private bathroom I paid $12 per night (July 2011). Both breakfast and dinner was included in the price. My room was small but good. There was a table and a shelf and in the bed there were several blankets (but I asked for one more in the evening anyway). In the bathroom there was hot water, a soap, a towel and toilet paper.
On the verandas there are hammocks where it was nice to rest for a while, with a good book, after the long hike. There is a common area with a wood stove, but I never saw anyone sitting there, except by the old computer that was available there. After dinner it seemed like everyone just lingered in the dinning room before an early night to bed. Before dinner I chose to sit in the restaurant, where there also is a wood stove. Dinner and breakfast was then served in a room upstairs, dinner just after 19 and breakfast at 7.30. All tourists ate together.
After dinner a man from the hostels came around and asked the tourists which plans they had for next day. The ones who wanted to leave with the bus, pick-up truck or the lechero got information about these, and for the ones who wanted to hike to Quilotoa he draw a simple map the next day. Horseback riding tours can also be arranged.
In the restaurant you can buy water and some snacks. A small water bottle was $ 0.50 and a big beer was $3. If you have your own empty water bottle you can refill a big bottle with water for $0.50.
Update 2012: Also in July 2012 I stayed at Hostal Cloud Forest for two nights and the price was still $12 per night, including breakfast and dinner. However there was no electricity in the area for several days and that meant there was no hot water in the shower. Luckily there was an engine that could be used and if we asked in advance we could have hot water in the shower (which of course is very nice after a long walk and when it is quite cold and windy outside).
I got the room next to the one I had had the previous year and it looked the same. The first night we were only three tourists and the second night we were 15 tourists. In the evening and morning we all ate together as last year.
When I left I was given a Cloud Forest T-shirt. I got very happy to get this from the kind people at the hostel!
Where to start? It's a very nice place on the side of a hill above town - owned by a couple of type-A-enterprising American hippies - run by (at the time I was there) a perfectly balanced British couple (she: business like, he: relaxed) - populated by, mostly European (thankfully) yuppies with the occasional oddball thrown in - and staffed by the (non-English speaking) locals.
My room was well built, cozy with a loft - part of 3 or 4 in an attached-row, nice until the Isreali family with their 3 whining & screaming children moved in next door (not your ordinary whining & screaming - this was almost unbelievable), oh well, I have done a few things in my life that deserve punishment.
Speaking of punishment, here was the main "problem" I had with BSI: They have a good sized lodge where you can hang out & where you eat meals (family style at big table), all very nice, except... For some reason they insist on playing this insipid "Adult-Contemporary" music crap almost all of the time, I literally found myself in my room at dusk; freezing for as long as possible 'til I had to go down to the lodge & get warm before dinner (I guess I could have started my own fire, but I was conserving wood), just to avoid the horrible music! If you can stomache this kind of marginal Sarah McLaughlin crap then you're welcome to it, but I don't know too many people who travel to the middle of nowhere hoping to experience another culture only to be bombarded with some of the worst that you'd thought you left behind.
Otherwise, it's really cool to hang out with and talk to your fellow travelers, unless you get an annoying American couple (remember, it's a yuppy place) and the wife asks you "What do you DO?" Why do American's always ask about work? Don't ask me about work? I'm on #@%$# vacation, OK????
They have cool pigs rootin' around.
Vegetarian food only (ugh! I hated it - meat please)
Safe for children.
We went here thanks to a tip, and it was great advice. You will see lots of adverts for other places but this is the best. The family are willing to help you with anything and give loads of advice and tips. Although the village is tiny it is a great base for treks and a good place to get away from everything.
They provide breakfast and dinner, which were great homecooked food. After a day trekking there is loads to munch down.
The views of the mountians are stunning and you can lie in one of their hammocks and night and watch the stars.
Mama Hilda is very welcoming. A really family feel to the place.
An excellent, comfortable place to stay just outside of the small town of Chugchilan. Unbeatable vegetarian breakfast and dinner as well as purified water and english/spanish speaking staff. Andy and Michelle have some of the most comfortable beds in the area complete with wood burning stoves for those cold nights.
Composting toilets. Unbeatable food and amenities on the trail.
This guesthouse is family run. For under $10 USD they offer accomodation, 3 meals, all the tea and coffee you want, snacks (delicious local cheese, a rarity in Sth America), advice on local treks, and horseback riding tours.
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